More Bad News for Hastings

It seems to be one thing after another for House Ethics Committee Chair Doc Hastings (R-WA). First, it's revealed that he had "close connections" to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's Seattle-based lobbying firm, and had even taken thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.

Now, it appears he failed to report a trip to Stuart Island, British Columbia, paid for by Washington Group International, a company that is deeply involved in the costly clean-up of Hanford Nuclear Researvation. The company was Hastings' top contributor to his 2004 re-election, giving $10,200, Alicia Mundy of The Seattle Times reports.

It also turns out he accepted a $7,800 trip to England in 2000 from a company he recommended for a multi-billion dollar contract in the clean-up of Hanford.

Hastings spokeswoman claims both trips were "absolutely appropriate and permissable."

Permissable, perhaps, but accepting lavish vacations from companies who are counting on you for multi-billion dollar contracts certainly raises a few eyebrows, no?

As if we hadn't already seen enough evidence pointing to the need for an outside counsel to investigate the House lobbying scandals...